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Old 01-18-2009, 11:50 AM   #16
John Bailey
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For me, DRM is a big issue. I still have the first record I ever bought (Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells) I have books I bought 20+ years ago that I still read. I bought them not as a momentary gratification, but as a long term item to keep for as long as I choose.

DRM is in my opinion, one of the biggest threats to the future of e-books. If I get three or four years out of my current reader, I'll be happy. I don't expect it to last forever. But I expect to get a lifetime's use from my e-books. If that particular DRM is not available when it comes time to buy my next reader, I'd be stuck with a bunch of useless files. Which is why I currently have all free books that I can convert to txt and later convert to whatever I like.

At some stage, I might buy a DRM encumbered book, but only if I can't find a paper version. Which is kind of unlikely given the range of books I can get from Amazon and the like. But give me access to DRM free ebooks, and I'll never buy a paper book again.
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Old 01-18-2009, 12:56 PM   #17
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I barely have time to read books once so I know that it's unlikely I'll want to reread any book that I buy. Plus I operate under the assumption that ebooks will only get cheaper and more widely available so if I want to reread a book in the future I will just buy or download it again. Hence I'm not bothered much by DRM as long as the book displays well on my device and has the features that I want (table of contents, dictionary-lookup etc). I do like to share the books I read with friends and family but since none of them have ebook readers, DRM hasn't been an issue yet.
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Old 01-18-2009, 03:37 PM   #18
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I might come across 1-2 books a year that I want to keep for possible future reading. Don't have the time to keep up with the new books I want to read, much less go back.

Things like reference and technical books, I still buy in paper because I don't find the e format conducive to how I use those types of books.

My biggest problems with DRM are
1) Lack of agreed upon standard
2) Inability to transfer license to another device (I'd even be willing to pay a small fee that goes back to the publishers).

These are two of the biggest drawbacks for me as I used to actively shared books with co-workers and friends.
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Old 01-18-2009, 06:03 PM   #19
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Like others here, I like to have the ability to go back and reread books whenever I feel the need. When I buy a paperback, it is mine until I decide to give it away. With DRMed ebooks, there is a very real possibility that the download format or even the online Bookseller where I purchased the book may no longer be available for future downloads. Devices, operating systems, and software become obsolete or are no longer supported. Stores, even online, go out of business or the publishers/servers discontinue their alliances. As Apple and the music industry have found out, DRM does not really do what the publishing companies hoped it would accomplish.
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Old 01-19-2009, 04:09 AM   #20
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As I've said before, I regard a book as being like a take-away pizza. It costs about the same, and I don't expect to be able to "enjoy" the book forever any more than I expect to be able to eat the pizza more than once.

There are a very, very, small number of books that I like to re-read. Virtually all of those are in the public domain, and hence DRM is not an issue for them.
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Old 01-19-2009, 06:01 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Lemurion View Post

DRM is like saying you can only watch movies on a TV you bought at Target, not one you bought at Wal-Mart; or if you want to read our book you have to use our glasses.
I think the most correct analogy would be: it's like pBooks. You buy a mass market paperback and you will alway have to read in that format. You can't change the size and format of the pbook. That physical paper book is all you got. The "words" you bought must be read in those paper pages. IF you loose the pbook, well, it's lost. You would have to buy another one if you really want it.

DRM'ed eBooks are not exactly the "boogeyman" people are talking about. Except those more restrictive (limited time to read, for example), of course.
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Old 01-19-2009, 07:20 AM   #22
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Personally, I don't care about the DRM. I'll just strip it. Not that I've needed to do it so far, but be sure I will when the needs arives (like with the current DRM debacle on Fictionwise).

I think DRM often has the opposite effect from what they want to achieve. People will try to find ways to bypass it just because they aren't allowed to.
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Old 01-19-2009, 08:27 AM   #23
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DRM hell

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Originally Posted by Sweetpea View Post
I think DRM often has the opposite effect from what they want to achieve. People will try to find ways to bypass it just because they aren't allowed to.
I can't agree more. Understand that DRM-free books cause no problems when you change a device and will work practicaly everywhere even after many years - how many paper books are you forced to buy again if the original cover got damaged and you replaced it with another paper cover? Thats exactly same for electronic reading devices, they are only cover for the book inside.

How many times you bought some film from local store on DVD, for example? Do you like the initial parts warning against piracy, appealing to you that copying is crime? Parts that you are not legally allowed to remove and you can't even skip it? They must be extremely popular, see, so popular they are on most DVDs!
After you see it several times, pirating such film, if only to get a version without this popular part, suddenly looks like good idea.

If I buy a book legally, I don't want anyone to tell me where, when, on what or how long I can read it. I bought it, period. DRM makes book more expensive, why should I buy with my money something I don't want, something that limits me and causing me problems?

I also think there is something awfully wrong with subject that allows me to buy non-DRM content for more money then same DRMed content. Are they saying that everyone is a pirate and must pay for it?
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Old 01-19-2009, 09:29 AM   #24
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If I buy a book legally, I don't want anyone to tell me where, when, on what or how long I can read it. I bought it, period.
No, you haven't bought the book. You've bought a licence which grants you certain, rather restricted, rights.
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Old 01-19-2009, 10:17 AM   #25
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No, you haven't bought the book. You've bought a licence which grants you certain, rather restricted, rights.
If the issue of DRM revolved around strict legality, sure -- but as stripping DRM is illegal for most of us that would be the end of the discussion.

I think the issue is ultimately a teleological and cultural one of providing creators "fair" compensation for "reasonable" use of their work. These are not subject to legal imperatives, but are cultural intuitions formed in feedback with the pre-digital refinement of copyright. I would argue in that context that DRM simply represents too great a restriction on my inuitive notion of reasonable use. I can read a p-book from 50 years ago and lend any p-book I own to a friend, and see no reason I shouldn't be able to do the same with e-books.
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Old 01-19-2009, 11:21 AM   #26
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Over, your pBook analogy is deeply flawed ("You buy a mass market paperback and you will alway have to read in that format.")

DRM has proven several times to 'break' later in life. The device fails or the company goes out of business and your DRM media is so much encrypted garbage. pBooks are good until the paper burns or rots, something that hasn't happened in my lifetime. As opposed to DRM failures of which we have lived through several in the last couple of years!
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Old 01-19-2009, 11:25 AM   #27
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gordon h. bennett, how many more threads are we going to have on drm?
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Old 01-19-2009, 11:48 AM   #28
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Quote:
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I think the most correct analogy would be: it's like pBooks. You buy a mass market paperback and you will alway have to read in that format. You can't change the size and format of the pbook. That physical paper book is all you got. The "words" you bought must be read in those paper pages. IF you loose the pbook, well, it's lost. You would have to buy another one if you really want it.

DRM'ed eBooks are not exactly the "boogeyman" people are talking about. Except those more restrictive (limited time to read, for example), of course.
I disagree - dvds or cds are a much better general analogy for ebooks than pbooks are. It's the difference between machine-readable and human-readable formats. I don't need anything more than my glasses to read a pbook and I can read every pbook I have wearing the same pair of glasses (or no glasses at all if I hold it about two inches from my face.) Sure it's always in the same format, but I know that I'll be able to read it as long as I can still physically manage to read.

I have ebooks bought for my iPaq (MSReader format) that I can't read on my Palm T|X because there is no reader for the Palm that supports that format. There is no equivalent to that in the print publishing world. The closest equivalent is music downloads and AAC, vs. MP3, vs. WMA, and even Sony's ATRAC. No single portable device supported all the DRM formats and the interoperability is one reason why MP3 won out.

It's all because of the need for an intermediate interpreter that a pbook does not require but other forms of media do.

We need a standard for DRM (absence would be the best standard but is also the least likely) that will allow legitimate purchasers to access content they've paid for on any device they own without artificial restrictions. Currently DRM is much more about using device restrictions to force consumers to re-purchase content to access it at a later time than about preventing piracy. It's vendor lock-in and that kind of thing is very much in the spirit of restraint of trade.
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Old 01-19-2009, 11:52 AM   #29
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I think the most correct analogy would be: it's like pBooks. You buy a mass market paperback and you will alway have to read in that format. You can't change the size and format of the pbook.
I can, however, photocopy sections of it to study or memorize. I can scan it and OCR the scans, and perform readings from it for my friends & family. I can give away--or sell--the pbook when I'm done with it. All legally.

Removing those abilities from ebooks makes them a very different kind of purchase (and it is "purchase," not "lease of some usage rights," despite what some publishers claim), and means DRM is limiting my rights to use my property.

Which means ebooks lack some serious value that pbooks have. Used pbooks are the foundation of a huge industry that doesn't exist for ebooks. (Several industries, if libraries & bookstores are considered different in type.) The entire publishing industry was built on the premise of more than one reader for the average book, and trying to market "books" outside of that premise is, in the long run, doomed to fail.

DRM'd ebooks don't allow the social aspects that created bibliophiles in the first place; they turn books into a lonely, selfish hobby where the buyer becomes an end-user only instead of a link in a chain. They change the relationship of a fan from "sharer" to "shill"--I think you'd like this, so go buy it yourself.

Consider how many books you've read in your life.
Consider how many you paid for, full-price off the shelf.
Consider the first five hundred books you read.
Consider how many of those you paid for, full-price off the shelf.

The publishing industries are doing their damnedest to kill ebooks by preventing them from being treated like books. They want them treated like text-movies: something where the average person pays half to three hours' wages for a few hours' entertainment. Ephemeral & disposable, non-transferable. Only available to those with enough money and specific other resources. (A Windows computer, for example.)

The current mainstream publisher ebook model treats them like underwear--you get the ones that fit YOU, and nobody else will ever use that one even if they buy the same kind, and if they don't have your size in the color you want, tough. They are not treated like repositories of modern culture, which need to be shared and swapped and can be cherished by many people before being worn out.

Ebooks are *not* "just like pbooks; you only get one." Pbooks are transferable. Removing that option changes it drastically.
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Old 01-20-2009, 03:35 AM   #30
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Removing those abilities from ebooks makes them a very different kind of purchase (and it is "purchase," not "lease of some usage rights," despite what some publishers claim), and means DRM is limiting my rights to use my property.
If you read the terms and conditions on the web site you're buying from, you'll be fully informed before you buy precisely what it is that you're buying. I think you'll find that you are buying a restricted licence. This is a fact, not merely "what some publishers claim".

If you find the terms of sale objectionable the choice is simple - exercise your choice as a consumer not to buy.

All the information is there for you to see before you make your purchase.
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